In urban pacification in Rio de Janeiro visibility of the state´s armed forces is as decisive as it is a contested issue. This visibility is here studied as a three-fold alignment of seeing (control), being-seen (accountability) and visual discourse. I assume that pacification in Rio de Janeiro is less a teleological process (leading to peace) but should rather be understood as a laboratory. In this laboratory, and on the stage of international attention (the visual discourse), policing strategies of seeing and being seen (the monitoring of police´ controlling) are constantly tested. This paper particularly focuses on a smart policing project in Rio de Janeiro which currently tests body-worn cameras in a pacified favela. At the same time, there are several grass-roots initiatives that have gone ahead and begun to monitor police abuse of force and thus contested the very idea of the state´s exclusive right to monitor police-civic interaction. The paper argues that visual methodologies can have an empowering effect in turning political agency to urban residents even in those areas that are, by visual discourse, framed as “precarious” (Butler 2009: 2) such as Rio´s favelas. In order to empower, and contest this precarity, social movement actors must point to the structural forces that make these images possible, that is, frame a counter narrative against state violence and its postcolonial historical rootedness.